Briana Heaney Published

W.Va. Hospital Receives Grant To Open Acute Psychiatric Care Facility

A patient lays in a hospital bed, smiling up and holding hands with a supportive physician.Hero Images/Getty Images

Highland-Clarksburg Hospital received a $5.2 million grant to open a psychiatric unit in north central West Virginia. 

Julie A. Bozarth is the Chief Nursing Officer at Highland-Clarksburg Hospital and says that this grant will be used as startup money to begin hiring and training staff prior to opening in early 2024.  

“There’s a big need for the service in our area in our state, really in our country right now,” she said. “I think the pandemic helped to bring a lot of mental health issues to the forefront. To help us realize how important having mental health care is.”

The new unit will admit patients on a voluntary basis meaning that patients seeking help will not have to go through a commitment process. 

“They’ll (the patients) be able to maintain their rights,” Bozarth said. “It’s just an easier, better way for them to get care because they’re doing so with their own freewill rather than being forced into treatment.”

This will also help alleviate pressure on emergency departments and psychiatric units in the area and get patients some help sooner. 

“If you’re in need of services, and you go into an ER, you might be there for several days waiting for a bed to open up somewhere,” Bozarth said. “So, with us having voluntary services available, we can get a phone call from the emergency room. And if we have a bed available, we can admit them a lot sooner and help them start on their road to recovery.”

She says the length of stay in this acute care unit is approximately seven days where the patients will undergo assessments, participate in therapy groups, therapy recreation groups, nursing groups, and general psychiatric education groups.